A brand new sheepskin rug is one of the most luxurious things you can walk on. Whether it’s a real sheepskin or a faux sheepskin, the look and feel of the fluffy rug can add a real touch of class to your home.
Like most new floor coverings though, it doesn’t stay clean and new for long. Dirt, muddy shoes and pets are all enemies of a sheepskin rug and will have it looking worse for wear in no time.
The good news is that after reading this guide, you’ll know exactly how to clean a sheepskin rug and get it back into showroom condition. You’ll also find out some handy maintenance tips to prevent it from getting into a state in the first place.
How to Clean a Sheepskin Rug – Prevent Damage
As with most things in life, it is better to prevent rather than having to deal with mess or damage when it happens. There a few things that you can do to ensure your sheepskin rug stays clean and the leather doesn’t get damaged.
One of the most important things to be wary of is that heat will damage the sheepskin. Keep the rug out of direct sunlight, as this will dry the leather out and cause it to crack or even fall apart. The same goes for when you wash your rug; always allow it to dry naturally and out of the sun. Keep it flat while drying and never put it into the dryer or use a hairdryer.
Brush Your Sheepskin Rug Regularly
Sheepskin rugs can start to look a little flat after a period of use, and the best way to bring it back to life is to brush it. You can buy a special sheepskin rug brush for this job, and the bristles are designed to protect the wool while maintaining the look of the rug.
Another benefit of regular brushing is that it removes bits of dirt and debris from the wool. Even hardened mud can be brushed out, and this means you won’t have to wash your sheepskin rug as much. Washing your rug regularly can damage the leather and make it dry out, so the less you have to wash it the better.
Another good way to get rid of everyday dirt is to take your rug outside and give it a good shake. This will dislodge any debris and keep it looking fresh. You can brush it first and then shake everything off for maximum effect.
Vacuum your Rug – Carefully!
Some people may be wary of using a vacuum cleaner on something as delicate as a sheepskin rug, but it’s actually fine. As long as you are careful and work gently without much pressure you won’t do any damage.
Vacuuming your sheepskin rug is a good idea if you have just brushed it and can’t take it outside to give it a shake. Perhaps your rug is too large to lift, or it is raining outside, then a vacuum cleaner is a good alternative.
Never drag a heavy vacuum cleaner over the rug as the weight and the caster wheels can damage the leather. A cordless stick vacuum is ideal, or a canister vacuum with a long hose so you can set the vacuum at the side of the rug and reach over. It’s not recommended to use an upright vacuum cleaner on a sheepskin rug unless it has a separate hose attachment.
Don’t use a cleaning head that has a brush roll attached to it. Brush rolls are great for carpets and other types of rugs, but they can damage the delicate fibres of the sheepskin. It’s best not to use any cleaning head at all, and just use the hose while carefully covering the full area of the rug.
Clean Any Mess as Soon as Possible
Just like any floor covering in your home, accidents will happen and things will get spilt on your sheepskin rug. It’s inevitable that drinks, food, and pet urine will end up on the rug; the important thing is to deal with them as soon as you can.
The first thing to do is to remove any solid items, such as food or pet waste that may have escaped the litter box. The longer you leave things lodged in the wool the more it will dry out and become harder to clean. Once any solid matter has been removed, take a clean dry cloth and blot the stain. Keep blotting until either the stain is dry or the cloth is saturated. Use as many cloths as possible until the stain is dry.
If the stain is still visible, you can use a specialized sheepskin rug cleaner. These are specifically designed cleaners that don’t contain any harsh chemicals, and most of them contain natural ingredients that are found in wool and help to protect it. Take a clean cloth and put some cleaning solution on it, then gently blot the stain. A little rubbing may help to lift the stain but be careful not to scrub too hard.
Always have the supplies you need to clean stains from your rug handy. The last thing you want is to discover a stain and then have to wait a few days for the items you ordered to arrive. It’s best to buy these things when you purchase the rug, but the next best time is now!
Dealing with Smells on your Sheepskin Rug
The blotting and cleaning method will help you to deal with any stains, but there may still be a smell after the stain has gone. The best way to deal with odours is to sprinkle baking soda or bicarbonate of soda onto your rug. Always sprinkle it on a dry rug as if there are any damp spots then the powder will clump together and be harder to clean.
You can use your sheepskin brush to really work the baking soda deep into the fibres of the wool. Leave it for a few hours, or ideally overnight, then shake the rug outside to get rid of all the powder. Alternatively, you can use a vacuum cleaner, just be sure to follow the instructions above. The bicarbonate of soda should absorb the odours and leave you with a fresh and great smelling rug.
Tools for Sheepskin Rug Cleaning
Hopefully, this guide has been helpful in showing you how to clean a sheepskin rug, and you can now confidently clean your rug without the fear of damaging it. If your sheepskin rug is very old or really dirty and matted, you may want to contact a professional floor cleaner to get some advice on the best way to clean it. An old sheepskin rug has much more potential to be damaged than a newer one.
As I mentioned above, it is better to be prepared when it comes to sheepskin rug cleaning. The following items are all you need for basic cleaning, and they can be bought for less than £20. By having these items handy you will be well prepared to deal with any mishaps that happen to your rug.